Canada column for Sunday, April 21/13
THE CANADIAN REPORT
By Jim Fox
As soon as the Liberals selected Justin Trudeau to become their leader, the ruling Conservative government’s attack ads began.
The ads on television and a website are similar to the attacks on former Liberal leaders Stephane Dion and Michael Ignatieff, suggesting they weren’t up to the job.
A political rookie and former high-school teacher, Trudeau, 41, was the choice of the party that slumped to third place in the Commons in the 2011 election.
He is the eldest son of the late prime minister Pierre Trudeau and said he would not dignify the Conservative offensive about his inexperience with a response.
“Justin Trudeau may have a famous last name, but in a time of global economic uncertainty he doesn’t have the judgment or experience to be prime minister,” Conservative spokesperson Fred DeLorey said.
After his first-ballot victory over six other candidates last weekend, Trudeau called for an end to Liberal party infighting and division so “the party of (late prime minister) Wilfrid Laurier can rediscover its sunny ways.”
He said voters are “fed up with leaders who pit Canadians against Canadians, west against east, rich against poor, Quebec against the rest of the country, urban against rural.”
Public pressure and a threat from the hacker collective Anonymous have led police to reopen an investigation into the alleged sexual assault of a Nova Scotia teenager.
The Mounties say they will review the case of Rehtaeh Parsons, 17, after receiving “new and credible information.”
The action followed a public statement from Parsons’ family about her suicide they said was the result of continued bullying after the alleged sexual assault by four teenaged boys two years ago.
Police and prosecutors said earlier there was insufficient evidence to arrest or convict anyone in the case.
News in brief:
- Rita MacNeil, a Canadian singing legend, has died after complications from surgery at age 68. The singer-songwriter from small-town Nova Scotia was described as being painfully shy and admitted to ongoing self-confidence issues, largely stemming from being overweight. A renowned live performer who had a television show in the 1990s, she sang to sold-out concerts around the world.
- An Ontario survey of real estate agents and brokers shows homeowners are losing substantial amounts of money if they smoke in their homes. The study, sponsored by smoking-cessation drug maker Pfizer Canada, found that smoking in the home can reduce the value of the property on resale by up to 29 percent. That amounts to a potential loss of up to $107,000 on a house in Ontario where the average price is $369,000.
Facts and figures:
The Canadian dollar has dipped to 97.43 cents in U.S. funds while the U.S. greenback returns $1.026 in Canadian funds, before bank exchange fees.
The Bank of Canada’s key interest rate is steady at 1 percent while the prime-lending rate is 3 percent.
Stock markets are lower with the Toronto exchange index at 12,021 points and the TSX Venture index at 934 points.
Lotto 6-49: (April 17) 18, 25, 26, 41, 45 and 49; bonus 23. (April 13) 2, 10, 17, 19, 44 and 47; bonus 40. Lotto Max: (April 12) 3, 6, 37, 40, 42, 44 and 48; bonus 18.
- Ontario voters could be electing a new provincial government as early as next month should the New Democratic Party (NDP) reject the Liberal government’s budget bill. There are indications that NDP Leader Andrea Horwath will join with Conservative Leader Tim Hudak in toppling the minority Liberal government by voting against the upcoming budget, forcing an election.
- Deborah Sharp Furlong, 48, the wife of former Vancouver Olympic ceo John Furlong, has been killed in a car crash in Ireland. In a message, Furlong said he was “broken hearted” in confirming that his wife was killed while on vacation near Gorey, Ireland.
- Canada’s largest lottery prize of $63.4 million has been won by three ticketholders in British Columbia and one in Alberta. The first to claim his tax-free prize of $15.85 million was Chad Seguin, 41, of Vancouver. He also won $1 on a second ticket in the 6-49 draw. The previous lottery record was $54.3 million won in 2005 by 17 oil and gas workers in Camrose, Alberta.
Jim Fox can be reached at email@example.com